Wednesday, 31 December 2008

That uphill climb

I believe I'm heading in the right direction. I am down from 138.2 yesterday to 137.2 today. The long, slow road to recovery seems to have begun.

Interesting discovery. This is the first time I've made a serious effort to count my daily caloric intake since I 'changed my lifestyle' at the end of 2003. I used Weight Watchers' point system for about 9-10 months at the beginning, after that I just tried to make healthy choices and keep my portions at a reasonable size. I have never had any real idea of calories.

All the charts and graphs-- and the personal trainer I hired back in October-- have advised me that at my height and activity level and weight, I should eat 1800 calories a day to lose about a half a pound to one pound a week. I determined when I started keeping my food diary that for the first few weeks I would track my food without trying to plan to hit a certain number. For the last four days, I have made an effort to avoid junk (chocolate and biscuits), the way I used to do when I feel I was doing well--and when I weighed 131 pounds! Guess what. For three days running, my total caloric intake has been under 1500. I have eaten just like I 'used to' eat when the weight just kept falling off, seemingly without effort. (Other than the effort to eat a piece of fruit instead of the cakes and crap at work). I am going to continue to monitor my calories and rate of loss to try to establish what my personal baseline is for daily caloric requirements to reach and maintain my ideal weight.

I've re-read 'The Secrets of Skinny Chicks' over the last few days, as inspiration. I do find that book very inspiring. The author suggests you write a dream goal ('something you can only imagine achieving in an ideal world'), long-term goals ('things you should be able to achieve with a lot of work') and short-term goals ('things you can accomplish right away').

When I weighed 200 lbs and first embarked on a healthy lifestyle, my 'dream goal' was to weigh 137 lbs. I don't know how I arrived at that number, it just sounded good to me. When I surpassed that goal, I was amazed. And now, 137 is an unacceptable weight to me. So now, my dream goal is to weigh 129 lbs and to look not just toned but leaning toward the look of an actual athlete. Something only imaginable in a perfect world. Me, looking like an athlete, with arms like Angela Basset's or Jari Love's!

My long-term goal was to establish an exercise routine. That is well-entrenched. So now, my long-term is to not be complacent. Lift heavier and jump higher. I want to keep pushing myself to improve. I want to be able to do all my press-ups in every workout on my toes instead of only a few, I want to be able to do a pike on the stability ball, and to do upward bow in yoga.

My short-term goal was always to stay focused on the here-and-now so as not to get overwhelmed by it all. That is the formula for success for me. To remember that the only choice that matters is the one I'm making right at this moment. Whether to have hot chocolate (60 calories) or plain Caro (10 calories). Whether to do an easy cardio or go all-out with a 60-minute sweat-a-thon. It's the little things that really count. By being realistic rather than emotional about it, by making little choices moment to moment, anyone can achieve anything. I'm learning this lesson all over again.

Yesterday's food
Breakfast: peanut butter & jam toast with caro
Snack: homemade brown rice miso soup
Lunch: broccoli, cauliflower and carrot with brown rice and mung beans, a small pear
Snack: 2 red plums
When I got home: a tsp of peanut butter and corner torn off a wholewheat roll
Dinner: Tivall vegetarian escalope, roast potatoes and garlic brussels sprouts
Snack: Staffordshire oatcake and jam
During the day, 3 chewy mints
Total calories, 1478

Yesterday's meditation

Today's food
Breakfast: peanut butter and agave nectar toast with caro
Snack: a pear, a small wholemeal roll with 'Sheese' dairy free cream cheese
Lunch: leftover veggie chili and short grain brown rice
Snack: 50g dry apple oat cereal and a cup of hot chocolate
Dinner: trio of noodles with tofu (wheat udon, black rice udon, and yam cake noodle stir fried with carrot, cauliflower and red bell pepper) served with tiny side dishes of smoked takuan pickle and pickled ginger
New Years Treat: 250ml cava demi-sec
Total calories: 1,980
(Looking over it, I should have skipped that cereal snack and the hot chocolate. That would have knocked me back to 1,720. And less the cava it would be 1510! See how those little things add up).
On the plus side, though, I have done three workouts today: Firm Upper Body, Firm Standing Legs and yoga.

Today's meditation
Kundalini yoga set with Maya Fiennes 1 hour


anonymous said...

Not meaning you in particular, but this obsession with weight, food, and calories that some people have is really an obsession with the self, selfishness.

Spending one's life thinking about one's self, and making diaries and journals about one's self is not recommended, unless one is masochistic, as there can never be any true satisfaction.

Better to divert the focus of the mind to other things. I wish you an upcoming happier, and more satisfactory new year. Get out and play tennis or something.

Carla said...

Oh, well. I enjoy keeping diaries and journals about myself. I enjoy my home fitness regime and I enjoy the discipline involved in honing my food intake. As we're all obsessed with self anyway (it's part of the human condition and unavoidable) then I might as well use it productively. My interest in health and fitness has not created an imbalance in the quality of my life, quite the reverse, it has improved both it and my feelings about myself, and by extension about the rest of the world. Hey, we're all part of the same universe, right? My current manifestation likes to work out. No biggie.

Carla said...

Ooh, here's a good quote from Walt Whitman (which I posted the other day at length):

'I know I am august;
I do not trouble my spirit to vindicate itself or be understood;
I see that the elementary laws never apologize;
(I reckon I behave no prouder than the level I plant my house by, after all.)'

Oh, and I don't like competitive sports. I only want to compete with myself. :)

A lotus to you.